Transferred out of Coastal, and I found this post from a Coastal grad to be a very accurate reflection of life there. READ IT BEFORE GOING TO FLORIDA COASTAL.
Here is a breakdown of the costs -
Total cost of attendance for 1 year: $54,890
Total cost of attendance for 3 years: $164,670
This price assumes a couple of things: 1) you take out the full loan amount for cost of living expenses (which most students do), and 2) you have no scholarship. Most people are offered a $10k scholarship, requiring maintenance of a 3.0 GPA. But as I said in my earlier post, 80% or more of students lose their scholarships after the first year due to the low curve.
As far as in-school employment/internship opportunities, the career services department honestly works harder than the departments at other schools. They have lots of resume workshops and really push students towards networking and getting involved in the legal community in which the individual student is interested in practicing. However, that being said, there are virtually no job postings or on-campus interviews at Coastal. And the three or four employers that actually come on campus only interview people in the top 10% of their class who participate in either Moot Court or Law Review. If you are outside top 10% and no MC/LR, then you get NO on-campus interviews. (however, the public defender's office does interview 3Ls, but they only interview top 20%) And even if you are in top 10% with MC/LR (like I was), that still means that you are competing against 40 or so people for 1 or 2 job positions. Basically, you have no chance in hell at getting a job through the school. This means you have to send out letters to employers, go to bar functions to meet local attorneys, and basically whore yourself in any other way you can to get a job. Out of my 1L section of about 75 people, I knew ONE other person besides myself that had a paying summer job, and mine was only a $10/hr part-time gig.
People at Coastal (faculty, career services, etc.) will readily blame the economy for the lack of job prospects, which is unfortunate because this makes a lot of people think that supplementing their education with an MBA or LLM post-graduation is a good idea, because, as their thinking goes, the economy will be better after that program is finished and they will also be more marketable with an extra distinguishing degree. However, this is sadly mistaken, and is an error of judgment as well as a logical fallacy, for two reasons: 1) pre-recession economic conditions were artificially inflated, and we are unlikely to see an economy like that for many years to come (if ever), and 2) an MBA/LLM/PhD does not give a student an edge over any other law school graduate - only grades and experience can do that. LLMs are just for law schools to further milk more federal loan money out of insecure students (except for maybe Taxation LLMs at Georgetown/NYU).
And as far as parlaying a JD into another field, such as business (like so many think makes complete sense), students are also in for a rude awakening. JDs qualify you to practice law; they do not qualify you to sell bonds or other securities, they do not qualify you to be a CEO/CFO/COO, they do not make you suddenly a more savvy business person, and neither do they make you more attractive for any other entry-level business positions; what a JD does, actually, is make non-lawyers afraid to hire you, because 1) you know the law and they think you would be more likely to sue them for employment discrimination, etc., and 2) they think you will leave the non-legal position as soon as a legal job prospect opens up, and so they do not want to waste time and money training you. Last, some people think a JD qualifies you to teach, which it does - if you are at the very top of your class at a top law school. A Tier 3/4 grad can teach community college classes as an adjunct, but that's about it. The foregoing is the truth about a Juris Doctor - if you aren't interested in practicing law in some capacity, don't get one - it's a waste.
Getting back to Coastal, the internships and clinics are pretty nice. The school regularly places students in U.S. Attorney's office, DCA Courts, County and Circuit Courts, and even a few students intern with the Florida Supreme Court. However, these are non-paid, credit bearing opportunities (i.e., you get 6-12 credit hours and thus pay your normal tuition for working 20-40 hrs./week). The clinics are on-site at the school and you basically act as a pro bono attorney for real clients - as I understand it, you actually go to court for them, file motions, etc., just like a real attorney. It's great experience, but works like the other internships, meaning you pay for it and get credit towards graduation.
I really do not intend to paint Coastal as a crappy school, and I also do not really intend to discourage anyone from practicing law as a profession if it is something you KNOW you want to do. But the reality of law school and the legal profession is a far cry from what it is generally conceived to be, and I feel like I am in a position to warn/educate possible future law students who may end up bitter and hating their career choice.
Law school, no matter where you go, is full of driven, incredibly smart, incredibly competitive people. And because of the inherent competition over grades, it is more stressful than you can imagine, and the work loads really are extremely oppressive. I did really well, but I had absolutely NO life my first year, and rarely even talked to family or friends on the telephone. To do well, you really have to make sacrifices, and if you don't, without a God-given natural talent for acing exams, you'll wind up with mediocre grades and no job prospects. And considering that most law loans are financed at around 6% interest, the repayment is like a substantial mortgage once you graduate (I'm talking more than $1k/mo for 30 yrs, possibly close to $2k+/month for 10 yrs depending on which repayment plan you choose).
The legal profession is ruthlessly competitive at every level, and so PLEASE do not make the mistake of deluding yourself into thinking that there is some exception that you will be able to squeeze into to make law school worth going. Knowing what I know now, I would only advise someone to go to law school if all three of the following conditions were met: 1) you can go without incurring more than around $50k in debt, 2) you go to a tier 1 school, AND 3) you really, really, really want to be a lawyer (and you have actually worked in the legal field in some capacity so you know some of what you're getting into).
The bottom line is this: Florida Coastal is a for-profit law school owned by a corporation (Infilaw) which owns two other tier 4 law schools (Phoenix and Charlotte), and the degrees Coastal cranks out every year largely only benefit the shareholders of Infilaw. And so think long and hard before purchasing your $100k, over-sized piece of embossed paper from a profit-driven entity that will provide you with little more than an over-inflated ego in an over-crowded job market.
But hey, if you decide to go, at least there's lot of free pizza and over-priced soup.